“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but endures forever.” – Psalm 125:1
We often speak of trusting God as a guide to direct our steps in the right path. Yet we also need to trust in God’s truth to speak to our present reality. If we don’t trust in God, we will come to trust in other voices.
I know of a woman with a rare genetic disorder. Her brain and her stomach are not connected. When she eats something, no message is sent to her brain that there is food in her stomach. She is constantly hungry; no matter how much she eats, she never feels full. Most people with this disorder are morbidly obese, since they eat and eat and eat. Yet this woman is a healthy weight. She has learned how to manage how much she eats at a meal. Even if she feels hungry later, she remembers the truth of what she ate. She has learned to trust in the truth, not in what she feels.
We may say “I feel discouraged” or “I feel abandoned” or “I feel hopeless,” and all of these are real feelings. We need to be honest about what we feel. However, we also must not trust in our feelings to dictate how we live. We need to trust in the Lord, not in our feelings.
Also, when people say “I feel like you don’t love me” or “I feel like there’s no hope,” those are not expressions of true feelings. Feelings reflect a state of consciousness, like joy, sorrow, excitement, or anger. The phrase “I feel like…” is a statement of opinion or belief. “I feel like you don’t love me” really means “I feel upset because I believe that you don’t love me.” We need to distinguish between our actual feelings and our beliefs or opinions, and then closely examine those beliefs or opinions. If they are not in alignment with the truth, we need to shift our erroneous thinking into the truth.
The Bible is remarkably nuanced in its treatment of feelings. Strict religious culture teaches us to stifle our feelings. Modern society teaches us to elevate our feelings as the highest form of truth. The Bible teaches us to pray our feelings: we acknowledge our feelings, recognize their source, and either pray to change our erroneous thoughts or channel our feelings into prayer.